When I was young probably fourteen or fifteen, me and my friends, we made a plan to go to Baway. Baway is located in the Bhimber side close to Azad Kashmir. It’s a very famous Darbar where a Sufi saint is buried. His grave is on top of a mountain. People usually go there to read Suarh Fatiha (Islamic prayer). This gives good deeds to the Sufi saint. Some people go there because they asked God for something and when that something is given to them, they give charity or they take a goat or sheep and sacrifice it in Baway (This isn’t a part of Islam – it’s just a ritual. The goat sacrificed is used for Langer. Langer is free food for all visitors: poor or rich, old or young. It’s like a community kitchen.
Me and my friends would go there for an adventure or sometimes just to get out of the house. I don’t know the original story of Baway but there are two myths that I’ve heard over the years. The first one is that the Sufi saint buried there was actually a soldier who fought in a war and he died fighting. Another one that I heard was that a Turkish soldier was buried there. He got married and shortly after he had to go to war where he died. His wife would visit his grave and talk to him for hours, but her mother-in-law thought she was cheating. The wife couldn’t take it anymore so she went to her husband’s grave and she cried to him. People say that the grave opened and the women leaped inside joining her husband. Part of her Dubata (veil) is still hanging out.
When me and my friends went there, we were having so much fun eating and playing around that we forgot to catch the last bus. We were stranded on a mountain and it was getting dark. This place was thirty miles away from our village. The road zigzagged around the mountain with many turns and walking on it would take us forever. The closest city to Baway was Bhimber, so we decided to walk down the steep mountain to get there. Then getting home would take us another fifteen miles. Back then we had no phones and there was no one there that could’ve helped us. We ran down the mountain, chasing each other and playing tag. What would’ve taken us four hours took us two hours.
Once on the bottom we hoped to find a car or bus but to no avail. We walked another seven miles on the road hoping a car would pass by us and give us a lift. My shoes were ragged and scrapped because they rubbed against the pavement when I was coming down the mountain. My soles were aching.
As time passed, it became darker. The sun hid behind the mountains and what sight we had of the road started to fade away. The trees around us started looking like jins (ghosts) in the dark. We started worrying and we were almost in tears. That’s when a truck driver passed by. He saw us and was skeptical of why a bunch of teenagers were walking on the road alone in the dark. We told him our story and begged him to give us a ride to Kotla (the city closest to our village). That’s where we parked our bicycles. He pitied us and told us to hop on. We finally reached home. But our parents were angry. I hadn’t told them where I was going. They told me I was allowed to go anywhere I wanted, as long as I told them about my where abouts and who I was with. Anything could have gone wrong that day.
I know today’s kids want independence. We did too. But let your parents know about your whereabouts. Bad times don’t come with a warning. Your parents will have your back. Trust me- I’m saying this as a parent.